‘’StuComm knows what students want’’ The Hague University of Applied Sciences

Two weeks ago we went to the Education Strategy Forum in the UK together with Ed Lazet, Communication Manager at The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS). There Ed inspired his UK colleagues with the success story of the MyTHUAS app, which has been live since 2017. We spoke to Ed Lazet about the decision to go for a mobile app, and why they chose StuComm as a partner. 

The reason for a mobile app

Research showed that students weren’t satisfied with the fact that they had to use their laptop or PC to find information such as their timetable and study results, leading THUAS to start thinking about introducing an app. The demand to procure an app didn’t come from the marketing and communication department initially. ‘’The director from one of the faculties had a strong need to improve the communication of the schedules and results of the students, therefore we wanted an app. We were looking for an experienced and reliable company to create the app with us.’’

A student-driven solution

THUAS had set a number of criteria that the app had to meet. The overall aim they had in mind was better service possibilities for students to improve student satisfaction. "Of course the app had to connect with the programs we were already using, but what we have said from the beginning, and that is the same as for the development of our website, is that the students are satisfied with it and can work with it. The app had to be student friendly.’’

One of the directors immediately recommended StuComm but THUAS searched for some other parties who could deliver an app to get a good overview of the possibilities. The IT department searched for apps that were available on the market and which alternatives they wanted to test. Next to StuComm, two other parties have been tested. "Next to the IT department we let service desk colleagues from the faculties and a panel of 50 students test the different apps. This student panel was a very influencing factor during the test, because of the importance of student satisfaction.’’ 


StuComm as a partner

Eventually, after several weeks of testing and comparing, THUAS chose for StuComm. "We chose StuComm because they know what students want, have a fast implementation process and proven impact of improving student satisfaction.’’

Ed Lazet is not a user himself so he cannot judge from user convenience, but he does have an opinion about the way of StuComm and THUAS work together, how they went through the selection and implementation process. "We have a very close and strong partnership. StuComm really thinks along with THUAS, what alternatives are possible if we are stuck with something. They have a very proactive attitude.’’

Due to their strong partnership, StuComm and THUAS went to the Education Strategy Forum together. Ed Lazet did a presentation together with Brad Vanstone, Head of Growth at StuComm. The presentation was very successful as seen by the probing questions throughout from the audience. "We got a bunch of questions at the end of the presentation. We answered the questions from two perspectives; Brad as the supplier and me as a client, which made it very interesting.’’


Challenges within the organisation

Not only THUAS but also the students are really satisfied with the StudentsApp. The ease of use is high and there are a lot of positive comments. But there are some challenges THUAS is facing. "I have to say that where it falters and where the satisfaction is lower, is not about the app itself but about the fact that we have to publish the students’ timetables and study results in time in the systems. I keep saying to parties, who want to start using an app, that they have to realise that it works like a magnifying glass on the punctuality of your organisation. If this is correct within your organisation, you will do great. But if your organisation is struggling with these issues, you will get more negative comments compared to when you have no app at all. Organisations should consider this and have their organisation well on track. And we honestly don’t always have this.’’

10.000 downloads in no time

To make sure that as many students as possible would download the app THUAS organised an internal campaign. "We organised an internal campaign where we had one simple message: download the app! We had printer coffee mugs, narrow casting, videos about the app on social media, posters, flyers and even students with printed t-shirts. We set up a goal: 10.000 downloads within a short period of time. We achieved this goal quickly.’’

Plans for the future

THUAS is very satisfied with the use of the Students App by StuComm. For the future, they would like to have an app for each stage of the student life cycle; MyChoice app for the open day and the MyStart app for beginning students. Furthermore, they are looking for new features such as the digital student card and campus navigation. ‘’Because of the size of our campus, I would really like to have navigation of our campus. Especially during open days, for most students it’s a maze to find their way around campus. It would be great to implement this in an app.’’

As a final message, Ed Lazet has some advice for educational institutions who are considering a mobile app. "Once again, make sure your organisation is well integrated. Put a lot of energy in this part. When considering an app, make sure you compare different solutions and choose the party that really knows what students want. In that case, I can definitely recommend StuComm; a fantastic young group of people who know how to satisfy the students."


Ed Lazet, The Hague University of Applied Sciences